My day feeling beautiful... and it wasn't just because of the makeup

I made a new, beautiful friend this year.  Carleeh of Healthy Socialite.  Out of the blue, one night, I was checking my Instagram when I read a tagged post from Carleeh.  She had posted a gleaming nomination for me to win a spot to attend the first Babely event.  

"Babely is an immersive two day-long event created to empower women and leave them feelin' confident and inspired.
Show up ready to learn fabulous new skills from local creatives, connect with a tribe of passionate, bad ass ladies in your community, eat and drink (only the finest), and best of all- get dolled up with the help of our fabulous make up artist and partake in a bomb one-on-one photo session. Whether you want a sassy new headshot or facebook profile photo (let's be honest- who don't?), take fierce photos in your undies, or you're just coming for the food and booze (atta girl)- welcome." - creator, Alejandra Aguirre 

Babely is a passion project lovingly assembled by three electric ladies.  They saw a vision for giving a small group of women the opportunity to be spoiled royally through chef prepared food, champagne, makeup, photos, meaningful conversation, inspiring stories, and laughter.  To feel free of expectations and insecurities. To feel beautiful in whatever season.  

Carleeh and I barely had the chance to scratch the surface of our new budding friendship, but somehow, in some God-spoken moment, there they were.  Some words that were filling up a large insecure hole in my heart.  She poured out what I had needed to drink up.  That I am valued, I am worthy, I do have passion.  June 19th I was announced as the winner of a spot to Babely.  ***Carleeh, you'll never understand just how much your kindness means to me....***

Having no idea what to expect and who I would meet, I went in to the event blindly, but with so much curiosity and excitement.  Like a child entering class at a new school.  I love meeting new like minded women.  I thrive off relationships and connections.  This was my element.  

The little mystic house I pulled up to on the day of Babely was tucked away, swaddled in greenery, with an old door that didn't seem to even have a lock.  Every corner of this 1900's West Seattle home was dressed in natural sunlight, stark white walls, hard woods that creaked, as you'd expect, and it was pure magic.  It was oozing charm and smelled of old cedar, fresh flowers, and maybe stale cigars from it's early days.  Whatever it was, I inhaled it hard. 

One by one, each woman arrived.  There were hugs immediately, because, well, we came to be embraced.  We lapped up the warm summer sun over Pressed Juicery "press-mosas" and fresh fruit.  We sat at a long, tattered wooden table for a heavenly brunch of homemade granola over yogurt and berries with a side of the ever most popular avocado toast.  About 11 of us in all, we slowly unraveled the nerves that we all seemed to be wearing and conversation quickly cut through the quiet backyard summer breeze.  We were embraced by old, overgrown apple trees, tall evergreens and deep, crunchy leaf ground cover.  It felt like Narnia... or better yet, the Secret Garden.    

Moving from our brunch feast to a circle setting, we performed formal intros.  You could visibly see each woman remove their armor as they spoke.  Shoulders dropped, grins looked genuine and long over due.  Collectively we toasted our champagne filled glasses to each woman.  It was apparent that we were all there that day to do ONE THING.  

Reconnect to ourselves.... to life. 


I happily volunteered to be numero uno for makeup and to get the party started.  It was almost immediate how unified Taylour and I became in conversation.  Alex popped in with her camera on full click mode and we chatted all things The 1975 music, what it's like to live with anxiety and how important self care is.  I was in heaven.  Full blown, sparkling, glittery, heaven.  I was surrounded by women that were so raw, honest and real.  It was more than I had expected.  And without even a stitch of make-up on yet, I felt beautiful.  More beautiful than I had in a long long time.  At one point, I sat on the couch and watched one of the other babes get her makeup done and I LITERALLY DID NOTHING.  I stared on... smiling... relaxed... I had nowhere to be but right there and that was ERRRYTHAAANG.  

  Florist - Carlee Donnelly of  Rusted Vase Floral Company

Florist - Carlee Donnelly of Rusted Vase Floral Company


Jaimie gave us a lesson on making mini looms as we relished in the tree covered shade.  I sat quietly, listening to the other women speak, share stories, inspire one another and give in to vulnerability.  They felt safe, they felt heard.  It was marvelous.  I thread my yarn row by row.  It was messy and far from perfect.  Far from even decent quality.  I was so invested in the chatter around me that I hadn't given much thought to the end result of my loom.  It was darn right crappy looking.  The usual me would have sized up my crap next to the person to my left and to my right.  However, I was totally at peace with my yarn mess.  I was just happy to be present in that moment.  

We drew from a deck of cards courtesy of Mindy Kaling's card game "Questions I Ask When I Want to Talk About Myself"  It inspired some hilarious and fascinating conversation.  By mid-day I felt like this group were my friends.  Officially.  They each contributed something unique.  

  Karina dressed the table for dinner

Karina dressed the table for dinner

  Florist - Carlee Donnelly of  Rusted Vase Floral Company

Florist - Carlee Donnelly of Rusted Vase Floral Company

  Hand calligraphy name place card weights - Camille Robinson of  Robinson Paperie

Hand calligraphy name place card weights - Camille Robinson of Robinson Paperie

 all food for the day prepared by amazing chefs  Kiel Kleeburg + Genevieve Jones

all food for the day prepared by amazing chefs Kiel Kleeburg + Genevieve Jones

Each of us were gifted with a photo shoot by Alex of Alejandra Maria Photography - who inspired this enchanting day.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to wear for this shoot.  I don't like dresses much, but when my fabulous friend Darcy showed me this origami pleated gown, I couldn't take my eyeballs off of it.  And she lent me her wicked denim jacket to complete the look.  I knew I wanted something casual, but still pronounced some elegance and glam.  With an all white high top Vans to boot, courtesy of my wonderful co-worker for hooking this girl up....I felt like me.  

It’s okay to admit you feel beautiful. It doesn’t mean you’re vain or arrogant. It means you’re embracing a moment of confidence. Embrace it hard. It deserves to stay.
— Honest Chatter

Alex made me feel so vibrant and alive as she snapped away.  We danced, we laughed, my face hurt.  I felt so lucky to be in this moment.


Make up or no make up.  Fancy dress or no fancy dress.  I felt beautiful, because my inner being was full of joy and had been nourished.  We are told over and over and over again that we should be comfortable and feel beautiful in our gifted bodies.  That we don't need makeup, chic clothes, and hair done up to feel beautiful.  Yeah, yeah.... I get this.  I absolutely get this!  BUT, there is something so incredibly liberating when you have the opportunity to put on the chic clothes, have someone apply your makeup, and for just a moment frolic in your confidence.  It brings out a part of us that normally hides behind baggy clothes and messy top buns.  Can we all just be real real here and admit that being spoiled feels good?  It doesn't have to be in the form of expensive, lavish material things.  Experiences and connections can feel just as marvelous, or even more fulfilling.  

If you haven't had the delicious experience of doing a photo shoot to just.... do a photo shoot - I highly HIGHLY recommend it.  For you, for your confidence, for your inner AND outer beauty.  You are worthy and valuable enough.  

No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

I'd like to introduce you to the vivacious and beautiful souls I met that fine day! 

> Meet the Babes of Babely <

to you amazing humans.... thank you for letting me shed some layers and let down my guard in an embracing space XO


Brooke Sligar

"The whole day at the Babely event was completely magical. From the moment I walked in the door, I was received with love and kindness. Brunch and chatting commenced, and it was a whirlwind of fabulous women sharing stories and supporting one another. I walked away from the day with a new sense of self, and felt like a goddess, inside and out. I am completely in love with the images Alex took, and even more in love with the new band of friends I made. Thank you to everyone for participating and letting your true selves shine. XO Babes."


Cecily Carver


"I so appreciated the opportunity to step away from 'real life' for a day and focus only on what made me feel peaceful and beautiful."


Lauryl Denega

"I met some of the coolest women at Babely and walked away inspired by the people and the experience."

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Darlene Barahona

"For me it was a place to reconnect with who I see myself as. Between a full-time career and the general madness of adulthood, I rarely get to practice being the warrior space queen that I am. You know, the real me who explores, fights space horrors, and saves the galaxy at the end of the day. Okay, maybe not the REAL me, but the person I’d be if intergalactic travel was a thing.  Since casual space travel isn’t a thing yet, how about discovering more about yourself and creating inspiring connections on earth?" 


Sarah MacDonald

"Babely quite simply, unearthed the babe in me.  I felt an instant connection with the other women, and I basked in the power each one of them brought forward.  I found so much of myself in their laughter, their struggles, their stories.  And that's exactly what the day was designed to do:  bring out the best in all of us, and encourage that best self to connect with others.  It was a celebration of womanhood, and I left feeling nothing but pure magic."


Lauren Upton

"I had been wanting to do a nude photo shoot for years (ever since I saw the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha does one) and when I stumbled upon Alex's work and Babely, I knew this was the perfect opportunity, because it meant I'd be getting more than just photos--I'd also get to meet inspiring women. In the weeks and hours leading up to the event, and then even the minutes passing after it started, I thought for sure the time would come when nerves took over about posing nude. They never did. I attribute that to the lovely Alex and the space she created for me to be me. She is a beaming ray of positivity, and it was impossible not to feel both empowered and right at home in her presence. I left Babely with bubbly memories, new friendships, photos I'll cherish forever, and most importantly, a stronger sense of sisterly solidarity."

// Meet the brains and hearts behind BABELY //

thank you // thank you // thank you

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"Babely is a culmination of my heart, life experience and passions molded into an immersive retreat. It's always been a priority of mine to make people feel good. Whether it be in photos or in our interactions with one another, I aim to be the bridge that connects people, a friend who keeps your glass full and someone checks in and makes sure you feel safe, heard and happy. 
Babely is very much an extension of that sentiment.  
Building a beautiful lady community, encouraging self love, and filling up with good food, heart felt conversation, new skills & memories and photos to last a lifetime... I literally could not be more grateful for the powerful women, both attending and those that worked behind the scenes, who made this event so extraordinary." 


Read her article on the wonderful day and see all the gorgeous deets HERE

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Jaimie Myer

"Babely is about indulging in what makes you feel good, making connections that fuel and encourage you to be your best self- whatever that is. The retreat could not have gone better. I'm still glowing and growing from the spoils and feels of it all. Inspired by so many stories and beautifully bared souls, I am excited to continue to spread the warmth and wealth of all that is Babely!"

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Karina Richardson

"I constantly feel that I need an excuse to relax, or need to achieve something before indulging in myself. Babely is a passion project for me because it encourages women to fight this lie, and to realize that they deserve indulgence. No excuse. No reason. No accomplishment. There are not enough spaces or voices telling women they deserve this time. Babely was a day designed to serve women, all of whom showed up with huge hearts, passion for their careers, and who inspired me beyond words. But Babely was designed to say that even without any of these things, you are special at the core and deserve to be spoiled and to have the opportunity to meet other inspiring women. Babely created the space to indulge, connect and create. There doesn't need to be a reason for it. That's why Babely is special."